A FAREHAM resident has criticised the council for failing to properly protect a leisure centre from travellers.
Michael Zeffertt, who lives on Colenso Road, says that Fareham Borough Council are on a ‘hiding to nothing’ after failing to put bollards around the full extent of the recreation ground at the Park Lane leisure centre.
The 74-year-old retired businessman said: ‘I go walking in the park every day. I went down and noticed the travellers had pitched up there.
‘This has been going on for some years, but it is usually earlier in the year they arrive, around the time of the Wickham Horse Fair.
‘They are probably going to be there until at least next Tuesday because of the bank holiday.
‘The council put in bollards at the entrance of the grounds and around the park. I actually wrote a letter to congratulate the council when they put up the bollards.
‘They left part of it without bollards at the back end of the park and I think that is how the travellers got in.’
Three campervans,three cars and one caravan arrived at Fareham Leisure Centre at 5.15pm on Monday evening.
The council has served the travellers notice to leave the site.
Mr Zeffertt added: ‘I saw them in the car park a few weeks ago, they must have been casing the joint.
‘I almost admire them because the council have challenged them and they have still got in.They still couldn’t protect it.
‘I recently had a heart operation and I need to keep active. I use the park for my walk.
‘But now I will have to avoid the park and I shouldn’t have to do that.
‘If you are going to do a job you have to do it properly. The council are on a hiding to nothing.’
A spokesman for Fareham Borough Council said: ‘In 2017 bollards were fitted around the recreation ground at Fareham Leisure Centre to prevent vehicles being able to gain access.
‘One section of the surrounding area was not fitted with bollards as the ground was very steep and viewed to not be of high risk.
‘The council will be working to ensure that this area is fully secured in the near future.
RECENT TRAVELLER SITES IN OUR AREA
TRAVELLERS have set up a number of camps around the Portsmouth area in recent months.
Fareham Leisure Centre – a camp with three campervans, three cars and a caravan was set up at the site on Park Lane on Monday, August 20.
Canoe Lake – A traveller camp was set up at Canoe Lake in Southsea on Wednesday, August 14.
Southsea Common – A group of travellers set up a camp on Southsea Common on Friday, July 27 – and were ordered to leave.
Watersedge Park – Travellers set up a camp of at least four caravans in Watersedge Park near Port Solent on Saturday, June 2.
Eastney – A camp was set up at a remote spot in Portsmouth at the end of Ferry Road, Eastney, in May.
Fareham – Travellers set up a camp on land near to HMS Collingwood in May with more than 30 vehicles.
Horndean – Travellers suddenly descended on Five Heads Recreation Ground in Horndean on Friday, July 29.
Farlington Sainsbury’s – Caravans set up in the car park of Sainsbury's in Farlington on Sunday, August 19, briefly causing the supermarket to close.
Eastleigh train station – A traveller camp was set up in the car park of Eastleigh train station on Sunday, August 19, with a dozen caravans.